The benefits of brain games for seniors can be monumental to their cognitive abilities. Not only are they fun ways to keep the mind active and healthy, but they also provide a fun opportunity to socialize with others. At Spring Hills, we have seen the benefits of brain games on residents’ thinking and memory. For this reason, we incorporate many brain games in our assisted living and memory care services.
What Are Brain Games and How Do They Improve Cognition?
Like any muscle, the brain deteriorates if unused, especially as we age. Brain cells need stimulation to maintain optimum performance, and mentally stimulating games are an excellent way to work them. “Brain games” are activities that challenge the mind and make the player think. Some of them require forming a strategy or plan, and/or remembering information, while others require quick reflexes.
By making your brain solve problems, categorize information, or make quick decisions, players are stimulating and working their brains, increasing concentration and comprehension, improving memory and reaction time, and having fun. Studies have shown that the positive impact on cognition from playing brain games is significant, even if the brain games themselves appear simple or easy.
Senior-Friendly Brain Games
Virtually any game or activity that requires thought could be considered a “brain game”, but we have found the following to be very popular with our seniors:
- Puzzles – Sudoku has become very popular in recent years and is an excellent way to digest information and develop strategies. Crosswords are excellent for maintaining vocabulary and staying connected with the world. Physical puzzles are also great, which require pattern recognition and matching.
- Board Games – The wonderful thing about board games is that it is necessary to work or play with others, so playing a board game provides an excellent opportunity to socialize and communicate. Something like Monopoly requires memory, categorization, and strategy, as well as basic math. Clue requires memory and deductive logic. Trivial Pursuit forces the brain to revisit memory banks, which is not only great cerebrally, but reconnecting with the world.
- Card Games – Card games are one of the best and easiest ways to give the brain a workout. Memory is almost always a necessity for card games, as well as differentiating shapes/number/colors, and things like Poker challenge the mind to strategize. True poker players will also be paying attention to others and assessing them for “tells”. Hearts is another game that is played with strategy and planning. Even something as simple as Solitaire provides an opportunity for the mind to stay active.
Dedicated Memory Care from Qualified Senior Care Providers
At Spring Hills, our memory care program is administered by highly experienced caregivers that use holistic care methods. Along with sensory stimulation exercises and other therapies, brain games are often used to improve memory and cognition. Often, our caregivers will even join in on these games!